‘And always embrace things’


I’m still under the weather – and also under the weather.  But today, even though it stayed near freezing, there was a glimpse of something beginning with s.  Neighbours, friends, dog walkers all looked bemused, staring up at an unfamiliar bright sky before commenting ‘still bloody cold though!’.

Anyway it put me in mind of a poem by Frank O’Hara, A True Account of Talking to the Sun On Fire Island.  I love lots of things about the poem including the word ‘true’ in the title.  I need to have that conversation, with the sun or one of his emissaries, truly I do.

The sun wakes us each morning and, as Philip Larkin asks in his poem ‘Days, ‘where can we live but days’? ‘ But there are deeper kinds of waking up which I’m resisting, turning over and sinking back into slumber. Perhaps, if I can’t have that conversation with the sun, ‘the priest and the doctor … running over the fields’ may come and advise me.

At the end of the Zen meditation I attend, we listen to the following chant of words by Dogen Zenji – ‘Life and death are of supreme importance. Time swiftly passes by and opportunity is lost. Each of us should strive to awaken. Awaken. Take heed, do not squander your life’.  Coming home this evening, a huge full moon hung low over Canterbury’s rooftops, it too, saying wake up, wake up.